Monday, December 03, 2007

Teachers Gone Wild in South Africa

The Sunday Times in South Africa reports that the Department of Education has fired more than 400 teaches in the last 20 months. Of those who were sacked, 90 were fired for rape or other sexual abuses.

The report adds that another 418 teachers have received formal notification that they are about to be terminated.

The Sunday Times went through some statistics to show the extent of the problem. The following is some of what they found in disciplinary records:
* 187 cases of assault and corporal punishment
* 183 cases of theft, fraud and mismanagement of school funds
* 403 cases of absenteeism, including 90 cases of absconding
* 28 cases of being under the influence of liquor or other drugs
* 41 teachers were demoted for unprofessional conduct
* 296 were fined the equivalent of a month’s salary for misconduct
* A Kwa-Zulu-Natal teacher facing a murder charge
* A teacher was found guilty of molesting a child
* 2 teachers sexually molested 3 three mentally disabled pupils
* Several teachers are charged with assaulting colleagues

What is going on in education? This is a shocking report that requires urgent attention at the highest levels of accountability.

Educators cannot be victimizers in the terms above.

Of course, this report will draw racist commentary from those who will see these statistics as a sign of Black inferiority.

See this obtuse and typically racist prognosis by a Sunday Times reader:

mulberry (Dec 2 2007 3:02AM): "If all the white teachers hadn't left the country or were still wanted in the education department, maybe this wouldn't be happening. What is it with black people and sexual assault?"

Oh yeah that is the problem right there: The absence of white teachers who taught in privileged white schools.

If all the white expats would only return to South Africa we could solve all the problems that face the country in an instant.


The problem is one of development and the professionalization of teacher education in keeping with the tensions that surround our post-apartheid realities.

Racialization of the problem is just as tired as the myth that apartheid was a better time for South Africa.

But before you give up hope see this story of a principal who turned his school around.


Dione said...

Thanks for the news on South African Education. It does make one wonder about whats going on in education, however racism for sure is a factor. Most likely these teachers are being many times wrongly accused for these actions due to white societys horrible sick need to de-humanize the educators.
The link you posted about a principle who has made a difference, is very positive. He fought an eight year struggle to turn things around for the people who really can benefit, who are left out of good educational learning due to budgets and again racism. Those are the sweet stories of success, that make one hopeful for a future where more people can relate to one human race.


Ridwan said...

Hello there Dione.

I think that racism is to be blamed for the conditions that emerged after apartheid in the schools but I would stop there.

These teachers represent an unscrupulous bunch who do not belong in the classroom.

Though they are most likely only a small fraction of all teachers, the situation in education is bleak.

The profession needs to be upgraded in terms of training, pay, and prestige.

There is a need to recruit talented teachers and to keep them.

And this goes in hand with improving curriculum, and schools, etc.

The legacy of apartheid is there no doubt, but it is hardly racism that caused these teachers to act out.

This is an issue of governance and accountability.

And I think most South Africans would tell you the same.

Those South Africans who will point to the inferiority of Blacks are mostly caught in the past.



Auntie said...


May you reach your desired professional position and somehow send your influence to every corner of every classroom.

Of course, it's not only Black teachers who rape, murder, and otherwise abuse students. The U.S. also has a very rich history of white teachers performing these same atrocities upon Indian students, who were esentially detainees in the boarding schools. In fact, there is a secret burial place at Chemawa where the bodies of murdered children are buried.

This has continued with the lockdown of the SoHappy girl. She was locked alone and died of alcohol poisoning at Chemawa a few years back. And let's not forget that nut-job Letourneau who raped her very young student.

Shus li

Dade said...

A disturbing report. Of course racists and apartheid proponents will try to twist it into something even uglier than it already is. We've seen the same with the blanket indictments of the Catholic church when the spate of sexual molestation cases came to light.

What can you do? There will always be fear-mongers and sociopaths working to make the world into the hell they desire.

Ridwan, you're leaving the USA? I'm sorry to see you go. Can we get together for coffee before you leave? You can call me at 503.449.8834 if you have time. If not, good luck to you, my friend. I may come to South Africa one of these days, so keep an ear open.


Ridwan said...

Hello Shush li. Thanks for looking in my sista and remembering Chemawa.

You know how people have selective and memories in these circumstances. I still remember talking to you and Eugene about the abuse by church officials in Indian boarding schools!

Dade I am sorry that we did not get to meet. You are welcome to stay with me when you visit South Africa. Let me know and I will make arrangements to get you.

So I will try to call but can't promise since my time is about up.

Sorry brother. But we will see each other. Bring the wife to South Africa too :0)

And thanks for your comment on this post. Yeah it is sad.

Peace and struggle.


nunya said...

Yeah, the mulberry that left the comment about the stats didn't look at them. Maybe the teachers who hit students learned that from the old white teachers.